Basmati rice is a long-grain, aromatic rice that is popular in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. It has a nutty flavor and can be cooked in various ways. This blog post will show you how to cook basmati rice on the stove or using a rice cooker. Let's get started!
Indian curries are fabulous; they are easy to make, but you can make them with various vegetables and spices like classic curry powder, garam masala, or madras curry.
But then the question arises, what to pair curries with? Well, the answer can be found in Indian restaurants; most of the time, they will offer aromatic basmati rice, naan flatbread, or roti.
This is our go-to side dish recipe we use to pair our Indian Eggplant Curry, Cauliflower curry, red lentil curry, or our mushroom tikka masala recipe next to a curried sprouted lentil soup, or a classic green lentil curry; nothing beats freshly steamed basmati rice.
- White basmati rice (long-gran rice)
Optional: seasonings (see suggested spices below).
See the recipe card for quantities.
🔪 Instructions for Basmati rice on the Stove
Cooking super easy basmati rice, following the right technique. This is how to cook basmati rice Indian style.
Soak basmati rice in cold water. Then rinse the rice with abundant water. Cover with enough water to cover by 2 inches.
Rinse and remove excess starch from the soaked rice using a fine mesh strainer.
Hint: One of the most important things to cooking perfect basmati rice every time is to watch the rice to water ratio: 1:2
Add one cup of rinsed rice and two cups of water to a saucepan, plus salt.
Cover the basmati rice with a lid
Bring to a boil and lightly stir before covering again.
Put the lid back but leave it slightly covered to release some of the steam and prevent it from sticking.
Let it cook for 15 minutes; then taste for softness and remove the lid.
Let the rice rest for 5 minutes, and then fluff the cooked rice with a fork.
🍚 Instructions for Basmati Rice in rice cooker
- Rinse the rice once to remove excess starch, then discard the water.
- Place the rice into the rice basin.
- Add water to the basin. For every cup of rice, add 1.25 cups of water (2.5 cups for this recipe). If desired, you can add 1 teaspoon of salt for a slightly salted taste, although it's not necessary since the curry will provide enough flavor.
- Cover the basin with the lid and place it in the rice cooker. Turn on the rice cooker and avoid opening the lid or stirring the rice while it's cooking.
- Fluff the cooked rice with a rice cooker spatula when all the water has evaporated. Serve hot.
💡 Top tip
how you release the pressure when cooking basmati rice is very important. This applies when using a rice cooker or an instant pot as well.
🧂 Seasoned basmati rice
Wondering how to season basmati rice as it is done in India? The most common basmati rice seasoning spices include cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaf, star anise, and cardamom pods.
You can also add thinly sliced onions to your flavored rice.
All suggested spices should be added with salt before boiling, except for the cumin seeds.
Cumin seeds become deliciously fragrant when lightly toasted in a skillet or pan for a couple of minutes on low heat.
Then add them to the cooked basmati rice and optionally garnish with coriander leaves.
- Basmati rice with peas - add half a cup of frozen peas.
- Veggies - in addition to peas, you can add chopped carrots or sweet corn.
- Basmati rice with lime and cilantro - make it citrusy and herby simply adding the juice of one lime and one tablespoon of cilantro leaves.
- Earthy - make basmati rice with turmeric powder adding ½ teaspoon of this earthy root powder.
- Smoky - another great option is to make basmati rice with saffron. Dilute saffron string in warm water and use it for cooking the basmati rice instead of filtered water.
- Coconutty - replace one cup of water with coconut milk.
- Biryani - use ½ teaspoon of garam masala curry powder.
- Middle-eastern - make basmati rice with raisings (basmati rice pilaf) using dried fruit like currant, dried apricots, and sultanas, and add almonds and cashew nuts. I love this pilaf recipe from Once Upon a Chef.
- Lebanese - we love simply adding ¼ teaspoon of Lebanese 7 spices to the rice while cooking.
Basmati rice is also great for making a simple comfort food dessert or snack, rice pudding.
- Brown basmati rice - instead of basmati white rice, you can use brown rice. When you cook brown basmati rice, it will take longer to cook, so you will also need more water.
You can cook this basmati rice recipe using a:
- saucepan on the stovetop
- rice cooker
- instant pot
Always use a liquid measuring cup to ensure the correct water-to-rice ratio.
🥢 How to serve
If you make basmati rice and have leftovers, you can store it covered in the fridge to prevent it from drying. When ready to use, add a tablespoon of water on top and reheat using a microwave or a saucepan.
You can freeze basmati rice using an airtight container or freezer bag.
Frozen rice will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer.
One of the reasons we love basmati rice is because it is great for meal prep; you can then use it as a side dish with your favorite vegan stew, add it to a poke bowl, or even use it to make your favorite veggie burgers.
It depends on how much rice you want to eat. A good rule of thumb is to use ½ cup of uncooked rice per adult if eating abundantly. We use one cup of dried basmati rice for three servings as we always eat it with a curry.
One of the most important things to cooking perfect basmati rice every time is to watch the rice to water ratio: 1:2
Perfectly steamed Indian-style Basmati should be:
Soft but not soggy, sticky, or mushy
Have fluffy and separate grains
Have the perfect moisture level
📚 More rice recipes
Check out our post on how to cook Thai Jasmin rice to perfection.
Our creamy cardamon rice pudding is deliciously made with Indian spices.
This 3-ingredient rice pudding will earn a spot in your heart with the first spoon.
If you try this basmati rice recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag a photo #ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
How to Make Basmati Rice on the Stove or Rice cooker
- 1 cup basmati rice organic, use brown for WFPB diet
- 2 cups water
how to cook basmati rice on stove
- Soak the Rice. Soak basmati rice in cold water.
- Rinse and remove excess starch from the soaked rice using a fine mesh strainer.
- Put the rice into the saucepan. Add one cup of rinsed rice and two cups of water to a saucepan, plus salt. Add 2 cups of water into the saucepan (2 cups of water for every cup of rice). Add ½ teaspoon of salt if you want your Rice slightly salted. Cover with a lid.
- Bring to a boil and lightly stir before covering again.
- Put the lid back but leave it slightly covered to release some of the steam and prevent it from sticking.
- Let it cook for 15 minutes; then taste for softness and remove the lid.
- Fluff. Let the rice rest for 5 minutes, and then fluff the cooked rice with a fork.
Basmati in Rice Cooker
- Rinse the Rice only once (to get rid of the excess starch) and throw the water away.
- Put the rice into the rice basin.
- Add water. Add 2.5 cups of water into the basin (1.25 cups of water for every cup of Rice). Add 1 teaspoon of salt if you want your Rice slightly salted. This is not needed as you will have plenty of flavor with your curry.
- Cover with the lid and place the rice basin into the rice cooker and switch it on. Do not lift the lid nor stir the rice during the cooking time.
- Fluff. When the water is fully evaporated, the rice with be cooked. Fluff with a the rice cooker spatula and serve hot.
🌡️ Food safety
We sometimes take for a granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience, that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove